Leadership Mistakes That Cause Employees To Quit On You

Take a Leadership Inventory

In a leadership position, it’s your job to figure out how to get people to join your firm and generally come along for the ride. You want individuals who are willing to stick around and see projects through to completion. Unfortunately, leaders often make mistakes, and these can drive their employees away. 

In this post, we look at some of what you might be doing to make your colleagues quit. However, once you understand the driving forces making people jump ship, you can boost your competitiveness substantially. 

Adopting A Biased Leadership Style

Employees want fair treatment. They expect senior team members and leaders to treat each person equally by giving them suitable responsibilities and projects for their roles. They don’t want situations where they have to do more work or get more done just because other team members aren’t pulling their weight. 

Unfortunately, some leaders don’t strive for fairness. Instead, they act pragmatically, seeing what they can get away with. For example, if some employees can take on more work than others, they will deliberately adopt lopsided caseloads. 

This type of leadership tends to have negative repercussions on morale. Some staff feels like they are getting the short straw while others gloat about their privileged positions. To avoid this, be mindful of the biases that you have as a leader. Even if you know that employees have different capabilities, approach them as though they are the same. Don’t work your star employees to death or let your stragglers off the hook. Just set clear expectations for what you expect in the workplace. 

Creating A Hyper Safe Work Environment

As an employer, you have a legal responsibility to keep your workers safe. However, there is such a thing as making the work environment too safe. 

Studies show, for instance, that a moderate degree of interpersonal pressure and friction is good for employee growth. In addition, colleagues are much more likely to perform well in their roles if they strive to meet the team’s requirements. 

The key here, though, is “moderation.” Pushing employees too hard can lead them to use unethical means to excel. And, eventually, over time, they are more likely to leave you for a firm that doesn’t have the same cut-throat agenda. 

In servant leadership, provide employees with regular positive and negative feedback. Don’t deliver any feedback with judgment. Just remind employees about what they are doing well and how they can better contribute to its overall health. 

Avoid making the environment too psychologically safe. You want employees to push themselves so that they become the best versions of themselves. Being too conservative actually harms both your brand and workers’ prospects.

Assigning Dull Tasks

Unsplash – CC0 License

Most employees want a challenge from their work. They want to feel like they are using all of their skills and abilities productively. Unfortunately, getting employees to photocopy or prepare coffee continuously can provoke them to start looking elsewhere. 

Monotony is actually quite exhausting for many employees – particularly high-flying talented individuals. They have a lot of cognitive horsepower, and they want to put it to good use. But when you assign dull tasks, you make it difficult for them. All their energy is going into suppressing the negative emotions they feel in conjunction with their work. 

Something similar can happen when employees feel like they don’t have enough to do. They become restless and, eventually, physically and emotionally exhausted. They would love to do more but don’t feel like they can. 

As a leader, there are several things that you can do to address this situation. For instance, if colleagues have a history of good performance, you can send them more challenging work. You can also ask them what makes them passionate about their work and then change their tasks to reflect this. Sometimes, simply slotting existing employees into new roles with digital onboarding can solve your problems. 

Placing People In The Wrong Jobs

If employees say things to you like, “I went to college to do this?” then you’re probably assigning them to the wrong roles. Statements like this not only convey dissatisfaction, but they also reveal the fact that you’re not challenging employees enough. People want work that is at their level. Otherwise, they feel like they are wasting the training and resources that they embody. Leadership requires listening to what’s being said and what isn’t being communicated by employees.

Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to avoid this from happening in your firm. For starters, always speak plainly and bluntly about job roles in both ads and the interview. Don’t leave candidates in any doubt about what you expect from them. 

If you already have employees complaining about their roles, check that their tasks match your original description. If they don’t, then you may require organizational adjustments to improve the situation. 

You Are Wasting Employees’ Time

Leaders can sometimes inadvertently waste their employees’ time with frivolous meetings and commitments. Imagine, for instance, that you are a sales manager and your job is to sell the company’s products. How are you supposed to do your job if you have five meetings on Monday, four on Tuesday, and six on Wednesday that takes an average of six hours per day to complete? You hardly have any time left to actually get on with your work and improve the sales team’s performance.

To avoid this situation, carefully schedule each employee’s time. Ensure that they have blocks of time to focus on their role (and only their role) and get things done. For example, if you know that your employee has to get a task done by the weekend, then itemize their schedule actually to reach their goals. 


Leadership mistakes are common – even at the best companies. But they are also avoidable. Running an organization is a complex and difficult process. However, you can eliminate deep-seated issues by simply running experiments and changing how you work. Moreover, as you have read above, you can solve most issues relatively easily as a manager or company executive.

Show More

Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.

Related Articles

Back to top button